Vintage French Joan-ish

Hello hello! Is everyone surviving the week? Are you taking part in Amanda’s awesome #bpsewvember on Instagram?  Go on and tag yourself on my IG feed if we’re not a already friends as I’d love to see all your snaps.

I have a fun dress to share today as it’s a Sew Over It pattern love child! I merged the Joan Dress and the Vintage Shirtdress with excellent results.

almond rock sew over it joan shirt dress

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

So in case it’s not obvious, this is the Joan bodice and sleeves without the collar. The team kindly sent me Joan when it was first released as they knew it was right up my alley. I did a really rough toile as I know SOI sizing is consistent across the patterns but in reality I should have possibly done a tiny sba. The sleeve caps are a tiny bit off as well but these are micro points when I skipped all my normal fitting steps.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

In case you’re not sick of them, see my shirt dress versions here. The skirt was made by cutting the front on the fold following the centre front line. Then the back was cut in two with 1.5cm centre back seam allowance added. The side seams, darts and skirt pleats lined up almost perfectly! I just basted them together by hand so they wouldn’t slip during sewing.

And how lush is this fabric? It’s Atelier Brunette modal which is sort of like a viscose in that it’s also a cellulose fabric but is produced in slightly different conditions. It’s thicker than normal viscose but not twill like. It’s slightly spongy and as easily creased it gets, it irons smooth with ease. This print is called Facet and I bought it last March during a sale at M is for Make. Look out for the Black Friday sale everyone!! Ps. I love love love my new Clarks shoes. The’re called Hotel Vibe. Yummy.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

The bodice is lined with navy polyester from my stash and I used a concealed zip. Life is short and when you have a concealed zipper foot they’re the speediest option.

I wanted to repeat my love for this great blog post on clean lining a sleeved bodice. The technique is amazing… but I really want to make an easier to follow version as it’s really hard to see in these step by step images. To be really clear, this technique creates a clean finish on the inside of your lined bodice around the armholes. All you see is the sleeve seam allowance! Here’s a little vid to show the finish – please ignore the telly playing in the background. Although if you can name the show I’ll be mega impressed.

Fully lined sleeved bodice. This technique is pure magic 💙

A video posted by Amy (@almondrock_sews) on

So I guess all that’s left to do is force you to look at a terrible dark night time picture of me in the dress heading out for dinner and that’s blatantly because I curled my hair and got dolled up and want to use the picture as many times as possible haha. I’m still on the hunt for a hairdresser who will perm my hair in big rolls like this. The specialist I went to blew me off and told me no one would give me the hair style I’m after. But since then the hair and make up team at work have told me that answer is horse poo and I should try someone else for a second opinion. Fingers crossed on that note. Also it’s scary seeing how going swimming once since the below photo was taken has drained all the hair dye out of my hair. Doh. I’m off to work on my Colette Anise jacket! Bye for now

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

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Vintage market staple

Hello everyone. Quick post today!

Firstly, thanks for all your comments on my last post. Since writing that piece my wedding day has been shunted into 2018 which is sad because I was getting excited to start my dress but I imagine I’ll now start sometime in the new year. Head to the end of the post for details on what I’m going to sew instead!

But let me just show you this dress which I finished about a year ago. Since getting photos has been near impossible I’ve settled for some quick phone snaps with bonus cat photobombing.

The fabric was bought from Village Haberdashery and is a Riley Blake print from the Vintage Market collection. I love the different colours in this print as it’s perfect for pairing different cardigans and shoes with the dress.

I probably don’t need to say it but I used the Simplicity 2444 bodice and the Emery skirt, including the pockets. The dress is fully lined with navy habotai, uses a concealed zip and hemmed with 1 inch red bias binding which let me give the appearance of a deeper hem.

I wear this dress ALL THE TIME! It’s pretty close to perfect in terms of fit, print, comfort and length. It’s the ultimate dress for most occasions and I really want to find this print in Jersey to make the ultimate winter dress! It looks a little longer in the body in these pictures weirdly but wearing it, the waist sits perfectly.

In other news I bought some gorgeous plain red viscose from Minerva Crafts to make a Christmassy version of B6380 the stunning new Gertie offering for Butterick. I intend to wear it with tights and a slip for warmth. Perhaps I’ll pull out my glittery ballet flats!

Also I managed to find the reverse colourways of this large scale floral sateen fabric for a graphic monochromatic print clash party dress (say that 10 times fast). Although I’m not 100% sure of the pattern I think it will be good with a dramatic silhouette like the By Hand London Elisalex bodice with a really deep scoop back or Burda 7232 which appeared in Sewing Bee Series 4 and has an angular bodice, paired with a circle or pleated skirt. It might need a thin black belt to disguise the waist seam.

I’m excited to sew two very different new dresses and still have the plans for my new coat. I shouldn’t be moping about not sewing my wedding dress for very long – I’ll be too busy! Bye for now!!

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My wedding dress – inspiration

So as I alluded to in past posts I intend to sew myself a wedding dress! Some of you may think “she’s mad!?” And some might be giving me a double thumbs up. And basically I’m in the middle, thinking “bwahahah this is so surreal”.
I wanted to share the process on the blog so I always had it to look back on but was relieved to hear that many of you wanted to read about it too.

So I’m going to throw my hands up and confess I’m a terrible decision maker when it comes to big dressmaking projects. It often takes me a long time to settle on fabric and pattern pairings, often changing my mind right up to the last minute. This is amplified when I’m emotionally invested. Not very good for a project where you need a clear plan and a strict time frame!

We’re currently struggling to find a venue for next summer. Apparently we’ve missed the boat for a lot of places which majorly sucks. There is a slim chance we’ll get Sept but it’s touch and go. This means my wedding may be 2018 and I’ll have double the amount of time to pick a dress design! 

UPDATE:

I clearly jinxed myself and today we’ve lost our chance at getting married in 2017. Sadly now I doubt I’ll do anything towards my wedding dress until this time next year… sorry about that. I won’t delete this post though as it might still be nice reading!

First up let’s get something out of the way… I’m having a short dress. Below knee or tea length. And a big bad ass petticoat floofy skirt. Bodice is still tbc… I have to mull that over. So in the mean time I’ve been examining fabrics. Here are my thoughts:

SEQUINS

I’ve seen some beautiful sequin dresses. Light frothy cleverly pieced frocks and embellished designs. Recently I’ve been obsessing over the Jenny Packham Jolene dress which features sequinned (and beaded) star appliques on it. The completely wrong silhouette for me but wow at all the bling. Searching for star shaped appliques stole a day of my life.

LACE

I favour dense lace designs (Nottingham, guipure etc), but at the same time I love 3d constructions and beading. Where lace steps into embroidery really gets me excited. Blooms built up with subtle textiles and colours like this dress makes me stop and stare. I also ordered a swatch of some beautiful beaded lace from Bridal Fabrics but I need to go see it in person. I also need to level up my lace handling skills if I go down this route.

TULLE

There’s always something that pulls me back to tulle dresses. Probably because I know of several suppliers of stunning coloured or polka dot tulle. There’s so much drama you can achieve with tulle and mesh at the same time as looking light as a feather. It takes a lot of effort to look that light though but with stunning results. I want to test this vintage Butterick tulle pattern with tippet style shawl (thanks go to bridesmaid, talented seamstress and wedding dress designer extraordinaire Charlotte for explaining tippets to me).

Next steps

I have a few appointments to try on dresses to help me pin down the design. That seems crucial to me but not being able to take photos will surely prove problematic. I am working out a rough time line in my head for the construction but think starting the bridesmaid dress toiles may give me a little breathing room for my own decisions!

If you know any short wedding dress companies or vintage dress sources please do drop them in the comments so I can continue pinning my heart out. Thanks for reading and please cross your fingers for me on getting a date!!

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Sewbrum 2016

Hello lovely ladies and gents

I’m writing this post on my journey home from Birmingham after an epic day in the company of 100 stylish sewists.

Last night involved lots of curry and champers as we celebrated our engagement with some close friends and like an idiot I stayed up later than expected. My bus was at 7am this morning so I armed myself with a flask of tea, hours of podcasts and huddled into my seat. I wore my red SOI Vintage Shirtdress for the day.

Just after getting off the megabus I managed to bump into Abi on the way to the Edwardian Tearooms and we arrived to a scene of a room stacked with sewists drinking tea and gossiping. I met some new faces which is half the reason for attending and then forcibly dragged a group around the market and Barry’s – including a selfie pitstop at my favourite sign.

There was lots of banter with Kate and RachelCharlotteNina and Gabby. I finally got to meet Fiona. And yes I cuddled a pug and larked around with Elle, Abi, Vicki and Rhiannon. There was a flying catch up with Lauren and baby Sophia wearing the Liberty cord dress Lauren blogged recently. Plus I manage to shout hello and wave at lots of lovely people like ClaireRachelHelen and many more. Not forgetting that I have about 20 new blogs to follow!

I was actually very reserved with what I brought home. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my major geek out at the release of Gertie’s new Butterick 6380 in America. Well it’s finally here in the UK and was part of the sale on at Fancy Silk Store (for all Butterick patterns – new and old). I also bought some graphic black and white viscose from a stall outside on the rag market for just £1 a metre!

Other things that made it into my handbag for the journey home were a copy of New Look 6434, a flyer for the Dressmaker’s Ball 2017, two hilarious vintage wedding dress patterns (thanks Kate!) which may actually have some potential, a flask filled with cider and a copy of the stylist fashion special magazine.

All in all a pretty cracking day! Will I see you there next year??

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Beyond Measure open day 

It’s been a busy busy week but it’s nice to be writing a blog post. It’s press week so I’m very manic and I keep forgetting to get up for glasses of water. Plus I’m testing a pattern for work because it’s got a fun design detail that I wanted to try out myself.

Enough about that though!! Today I wanted to talk a little about the Beyond Measure open day that Ruth and I attended last weekend. Ooh two Ruth mentions in two posts. But I’ve just managed to delete ALL my photos from my phone while trying to upload them. I could shout out something naughty but I’ll resist. Fingers crossed Grace doesn’t mind me sharing her pictures.

almond rock beyond measure

So when Grace mentioned at the Sewing Weekender that her Todmorden studio was opening its doors, it was too good a chance to miss. Tod can be found just outside Hebden Bridge and has plenty of similar charms. Having worked in Mytholmroyd (two train stops away) for 7 years and with friends in Hebbers I know the train route well. It’s about an 1hr 10 from Leeds and 45 mins from Manchester.

Beyond Measure is roughly a 10 minute walk from the station and thankfully Saturday was a lovely sunny day. As it’s not a shop I’m not sure how it looks normally, but Grace had set up the space with mannequins, piles of fabric bundles and tall end-bolts, and of course several racks and trays of pretty haberdashery and tools.

almond rock beyond measure

almond rock beyond measure almond rock beyond measure

On display there was the well known Sajou and Merchant and Mills supplies, plus the gorgeous tweed, leather and wood pincushions she’s had made locally. Large jars of vintage buttons and toggles sat on turquoise shelves. I loved the handmade ceramic buttons, each slightly unique. We had chance to chat to one of the talented designers who made the pincushions and laughed about how he didn’t really know anything about the sewing industry but throughly enjoyed his work. He was humble and friendly, having brought his daughter on a day trip to see his products in Grace’s store.

almond rock beyond measure

almond rock beyond measure

almond rock beyond measure

There was a also tempting amount of wool of offer which Grace had sourced from a Lancashire mill. Offcuts and end bolts, plus colour coordinated bundles. I succumbed to some smooth soft and almost glossy boucle wool with flecks of colour running through. It was £30 for a 1.6m piece, enough for a short jacket I think. I also picked up something for a Christmas present… enough said about that (spies everywhere).

We spent a good portion of the day gossiping with Grace and her lovely friend Tinkering Textiles about all sort of things and nibbling on the MOST DELICIOUS honey chocolate flapjack before fully giving in to hunger and having a nice lunch at the local Co-op cafe. Mmmm spiced potato and spinach wraps yummy.

almond rock beyond measure

almond rock beyond measure

Grace’s eye for detail and quality is paired perfectly with her design aesthetic and she has curated her shop to include beautiful, intriguing and charming pieces. Handcrafted items can often be seen as a luxury to own and so there’s a small hurdle to overcome about whether you can indulge but think about it. What value do you place on your garments? I hope you believe in the worth of the hours you’re giving over to your craft. Any guilt should be momentary as your buying something from a talented craftsperson that you know will last. And will definitely have more personality. Food for though hopefully.

almond rock beyond measure

I’ll be back soon with some thoughts on wedding dresses and how I’m attempting to edit my eclectic style into one dress.

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